By Nancy Jane Moore
1. Birds are unpredictable.
My sister gave me this great bird feeder and told me to use black sunflower seeds in it. I could only find a ten-pound bag. “Goodness,” I thought, “I’ll never use that up.” Wrong. I’m going to be lucky if I don’t have to buy another bag by August 1.
The first time I filled it, the birds took a week to go through all the seeds. After I refilled it, there was a feeding frenzy and all the seeds disappeared in 24 hours. I waited a few days and filled it again. This time it took three and half days for the birds to eat all the seeds.
A storm blew in shortly after the feeding frenzy, bringing rain (Hooray!) and winds. I wonder if the birds could feel it coming and were stocking up that day. Maybe I’ll find a pattern if I keep feeding and watching.
2. Squirrels, on the other hand, are very predictable.
I’m proud to announce that, as advertised, the feeder is squirrel-proof. But that doesn’t stop the squirrels from trying. This guy devoted at least an hour to trying to find a way in. He fell to the ground when I came out to take his picture, but was soon scampering back up the tree and jumping back down onto the feeder.
When there are several smaller birds at the feeder, the grackles and doves make a circle on the ground around it, waiting for something to drop. There’s usually a squirrel in that circle, also looking to scarf up the dropped food.
It’s OK with me if the squirrels get the occasional seed this way, as long as they can’t eat me and the birds out of house and home. But if the squirrels get into my tomatoes when they start coming in, there’s going to be hell to pay.
3. It may not be wise to encourage birds in your yard when your neighbors have nine (very well cared for) cats, one of whom is youthful and feeling his oats. I think these feathers near my vegetable garden came from a dove, but as the carcass had been fully devoured before I found them, I’m not completely sure.
Here’s the culprit: Nacho, who is otherwise a charming and friendly cat.
4. No matter how careful you are when you move a prickly pear, you will get tiny, invisible spines in your fingers.
5. When you move into a place where the former owner obviously did a lot of gardening, wait awhile before pulling things up. I’ve discovered some lovely wildflowers growing among the weeds,
And a trumpet vine growing along the fence.
6. And lastly, no matter how bad the drought has been (and it’s been very bad here), most weeds just need the slightest bit of rain to pop out. Meaning that I’m going to have to mow the lawn very soon. Especially since it just started to rain again.